Generalized Anxiety

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Children with generalized anxiety disorder worry excessively and have difficulty trying to stop or control their worry.  All children worry at times, but children with GAD seem to be constantly worrying about this or that, and their worry reaches the point where it distressing to the child, interferes with their school performance, or affects his/her ability to function in every day life.  Because of their constant anxiety, they may feel restless or keyed up, have difficulty concentrating, are easily fatigued, feel tense, or are irritable.

Children with generalized anxiety disorder worry excessively about all manner of upcoming events and occurrences.  They worry unduly about their academic performance or sporting activities, about being on time, or even about natural disasters such as earthquakes or lightening storms.  The worry can persist even when the child is not being judged and has always performed well in the past.

Because of their anxiety, children with GAD may be overly conforming, perfectionistic, or unsure of themselves.  They tend to redo tasks if there are any imperfections.  They tend to seek approval and need constant reassurance about their performance and their anxieties.

The proportion of children who retain this order into adulthood is unknown.

300.02 Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Includes Overanxious Disorder of Childhood)

A. Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).

B. The person finds it difficult to control the worry.

C. The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms present for more days than not for the past 6 months). NOTE: Only one item is required in children.

1. Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge.

2. Being easily fatigued

3. Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank

4. Irritability

5. Muscle tension

6. Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep)

D. The focus of the anxiety and worry is not confined to features of an Axis I disorder, eg, the anxiety or worry is not about having a Panic Attack (as in Panic Disorder), being embarrassed in public (as in Social Phobia), being contaminated (as in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), being away from home or close relatives (as in Separation Anxiety Disorder), gaining weight (as in Anorexia Nervosa), having mutiple physical complaints (as in Somatization Disorder), or having a serious illness (as in Hypochondriasis), and the anxiety and worry do not occur exclusively during Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

E. The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

F. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance... (medical causes).